So You Want to Host a Games Night?

With the Holiday season on us, it’s a good time to get together with friends and family or just to hang out with the children. One good way to improve the gathering is to host a games night.

I thought I would deviate from the usual financial and family matters to write a bit about to how make such a thing successful. Now board games can be expensive, a typical game can cost anywhere from $40 to $70, however some lower end games can be around $20. To bring this around to those with frugal habits, many game stores will rent you a game, so if you think you will only need it for the games night then you can borrow from the store usually for around a $5 fee. You could therefore have a decent selection of games for your group to play for under $25.

So where to start?

Know Your Audience.

The first thing to understand is to know who you are playing with. If the people coming are not particularly experienced with games then you probably don’t want to play a lot of high strategy multi hour games. Conversely if the group is used to a lot of higher end games, then there is no point bringing out less strategic games. Also know how many people are coming, if you have a large group you might need to focus on party games or even multiple tables. A lot of games only play up to 4, and even those that play to a higher number like 6 or 7 end up playing very slowly at that count so your group might get bored. 

Remember a lot of people have not played many modern games, so this is a great way to introduce people to some new ideas and how games have moved on in the last 20 years.

Note for all the games listed below I have linked to its page on the boardgamegeek website. This will allow you to find reviews, videos and information on each game mentioned. If you wish to purchase any of them, they can of course be bought on amazon or from online game stores such as coolstuffinc or miniature market. But I would certainly encourage you to find a local brick and mortar game store and support local businesses.

Party Games.

For large number of people and especially in a holiday gathering party games area great way to get things moving along. These are often played in teams and scale up to large numbers of people. One of the most popular party games is Codenames. This comes in many versions, but at it’s base level is a two team word game where you have to identify words given by a team mate while avoiding the opposition team’s words. Another less well known word game in a similar vein is Decrypto. This is a word game that involves you trying to crack your opponent team’s code based on work clues. The subtlety here is that when you are giving clues to your team they need to be clear enough that your team will solve them, but subtle enough that the opponents don’t understand them. 

Another theme for party games is social deduction. This is a style of game where one participant is a traitor or some sort of infiltrator. One of the most popular games in this genre is the werewolf series, the quickest and easiest version to play is One Night Ultimate Werewolf. One person at the table is the werewolf and the rest of the table have to determine who it is. However even the person who thinks they are the werewolf may not be the werewolf by the end the short game. These social deduction games are often fast paced and involve a lot more table talk than word type games. 

On Friday I will continue with filler games, along with mid level games and high end games. 

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